Famous for horseracing and bourbon, Louisville is far from being all about thoroughbreds and whisky. Spread out on the banks of the Ohio River amid the picture-postcard farms and rolling pastures of Kentucky bluegrass country, it offers an awful lot more: scenic river walks, green parks, a stunning historic district, museums, theme parks, and plenty else besides. Plus the racing and the bourbon have their advantages too!
The race in question is the famous Kentucky Derby, the finale of Louisville's two-week annual festival. It's one of the most celebrated four-legged dashes on the planet and happens on the first Saturday in May. The whole city turns into one big party during the run-up, and there's a long list of other things going on: concerts, paddle steamer races, hot air balloons, the Pegasus Parade - all kicked off by America's biggest fireworks display. There's no finer time for Louisville holidays.
But there's plenty more to do as well, and you can really get under the skin of the place by strolling along the seven miles of gorgeous trails besides the Ohio, taking a river cruise, or wandering the streets of Old Louisville. It's more or less an open-air museum, full of fabulous Victorian Gothic architecture complete with turrets and gargoyles. Or you could visit some of the city's up-and-coming hipster districts like NuLu, for microbreweries, galleries, boutiques and cool restaurants.
If museums are your thing, then there's some great places to discover on Louisville holidays, with racing, baseball, Muhammad Ali and historical weapons all covered. Plus there's the newly renovated Kentucky Kingdom theme park and Hurricane Bay waterpark due to reopen May 2014 - as well as all the scenic countryside and towns surrounding the city to explore. Like we said, horses and bourbon are only part of the story!